Wednesday @ Home: First of all, I would like to give a shout out to the whole team for your assistance in making the meet flow smoothly. You were all eager to pitch in, and I heard the phrase, "D...what else can I do to help?" repeatedly throughout the day. THANK YOU! :) Special thanks to the crew who came back to school to help unload all of our gear--your dedication and kindness do not go unnoticed! In terms of the actual race, I was impressed by how organized you all were preparation-wise. When I walked over to the starting line, you were ready to rock and roll--thank you! In all honesty, though, the race itself looked a bit flat to me. Yes, there were many personal bests on the day (Janelle, Julia, Steffany, Ivory, Ashley N. Michelle, and Heidi), but as a team, our racing did not look as sharp as it could be. In the final mile, and specifically in the final 400, we allowed too many Libertyville racers catch us on our home course. Now that you all have some race experience here, it is my expectation that we will better defend our home next time. Congrats to Lainey for earning a spot on the board with her performance! Let's take her lead and destroy the board in October!
Saturday @ Warren Invite: Well shame on me for my pre-meet speech on the bus; what was I thinking to set a limit on what you could and would do on this course? I am SO proud of the attitude you all shared as you toed the line on this muddy course. I did not hear a single complaint about the conditions. Instead, as we circled up for each breakdown, I was thrilled to hear you encourage your teammates to embrace the mud and seize the opportunity to pass "princesses" in the final muddy stretch. THANK YOU for your gritty attitudes! :)
The Varsity started with the right mindset. I was impressed with your starts--your mile one times are getting closer to what I believe you are capable of. Nice work! As a group, our mile two drop off is still too significant. In order to run Varsity times that will be competitive, as a group we need to take a RISK in mile two. Most of you dropped 50 seconds or more in your second mile. Lainey (who had a huge PR) and Jacqueline (who is still going out too slowly in the first mile) were the two exceptions. I want this part of the race to be our focus at JT. Let's do it! Now for the congratulations: Lainey broke 20 for the first time to set a huge LPR of 19:32; Jo came frustratingly close to breaking 21 and set a LPR of 21:08; Shayla broke 7:00 for her first mile which allowed her to set a big LPR of 21:22; Justine also broke 7:00 for her first mile but struggled with her shins for the remainder of the race; Jacqueline set a BIG LPR of 21:46; Karyn broke 7:00 in her first mile to set a SPR of 22:16; and Monica ran her fastest first mile of the season and ran much faster than on our home course. Overall, I was happy with the tone this group set for the day. Nice work, women!
The Fresh/Soph women were next, and they fed off the energy of the Varsity races. Damaris got out FAST for us, breaking 7:00 in a race for the first time! Way to take a risk! You all followed suit, trusting your training and being aggressive to the first mile. I was impressed by the surges I saw all of you using, especially in the loop near the school. As you came off the turn from the swamp area, SO many of you accelerated into the little loop before the hill. And the hill? I watched the twins and Heidi attack that hill with ferocity. Nice work! Overall, this group raced extremely well--producing EIGHT LPRS: Damaris, Janelle, Julia, Heidi, Carmen, Emily, Steffany, and Michelle. Taylor earned a SPR, too! Most of the drops were substantial--nice work, women! Props to Damaris for placing 49th to earn a medal. :)
Finally, our Open women were not to be denied a chance to shine today. Even though the course conditions deteriorated with each race, and there was a delay before the race began, this group remained cool as cucumbers. Every single woman earned an LPR in this race--outstanding! They executed a perfect start--angling directly to the first flag. Throughout the race, each woman used the course to her advantage. My favorite part was watching the finishing kicks. As I emerged from the woods, I saw Tianna on the second-to-last stretch. She was already in beast-mode, moving up on sleepy competitors who were waiting for the final stretch to kick. Despite having a sore arch, Ashley N. went to sprinter mode to catch other runners in the final stretch. Sam ran a tremendous race, shaving 47 seconds from her best from Conference last year--outstanding! Kristina kicked with enthusiasm when I let her know where her time was at, which allowed her to break 30 for the first time this season! An Anna, despite a fussy achilles, ran her first "even" race which allowed her to PR by almost 1:30! Beautiful!
Overall, I was thrilled by the progress at this meet. You went into the race with the right mindset which produced amazing results; you took a big step toward truly racing! Moving into this week with only one race, I need you to think about the "Warren Effect." Going into the race, you felt comfortable because you have either raced here or at least have seen the course. That comfort probably allayed some of the pre-race jitters. Then, thanks to me (before the bus speech) and veteran teammates, you assumed you would run fast because this is known as a fast course. These expectations allowed you...PUSHED you to take risks. You assumed you would be fast, and then you were. For our workout on Tuesday, I need you to assume the same so that you will take the RISK to run faster than you have before. And for the invite on Saturday...assume that you are fast...assume that you are ready to PR again...assume that if you take the RISK, it will pay off. Let's go!